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Professional Race Horse Exercise Rider Program


What can you expect from this course?

The Professional Racetrack Exercise Rider Program is a “Learn and Earn” concept program that will give you the confidence and skill to become a professional licensed Exercise Rider at Alberta Horse Racing Tracks! This unique program allows you to learn from and practice your skills with industry professional instructors. You will acquire the skills you need to exercise race horses on a track. 

Delivery: Olds Campus

Fees: $1500

Program Dates: January - May

  • January 22 - March 15, 2024Face-to-face at Olds College (includes chores and class time plus chores on weekends)
  • March 18 - May 3, 2024: Earn and Learn with trainers at Century Mile Racetrack in Nisku. 
  • May 6 - August 16, 2024: Practicum

Credential: Non-credit

Registrations: Registrations are accepted as long as seats are available, however, it is recommended that you register early as this class is limited to a small number of students to ensure your safety and an optimal learning experience. Apply now to avoid disappointment.

Required Materials: Appropriate footwear (no running shoes) and clothing suitable for working with horses and variable weather.

Physical Requirements: Professional Racetrack Exercise Rider graduates need to be physically fit, mentally ready, willing and able to ride a Thoroughbred race horse.

  • Strong work ethic is required for success as an exercise rider.
  • A solid foundation of any discipline of horseback riding.
  • Being an Exercise Rider is physically challenging and will need a solid foundation of personal physical conditioning. Riders must independently develop personal fitness regimes to meet physical requirements.
  • The ability to ride, perform and complete tasks as instructed by individual trainers is essential.

Admission Requirements: This is an employment-driven program where Horse Racing Alberta (HRA) is making a commitment to training professional exercise riders. Applicants must undergo a riding test to determine suitability for admission to the program. Students are expected to maintain a minimum 70% average in order to be licensed by HRA and work in the industry.  Students should also be aware that this is a physically demanding program, representative of what would be expected with any subsequent employment in the industry.

Selection Process:

  • Small classes promote quality education- applicants will be carefully selected
  • Selected applicants will be contacted for a 3 part evaluation:
    • an interview
    • a riding and horsemanship test (this program is offered for those with considerable riding and horsemanship skills)
    • a fitness test 

When we have received your application we will contact you for your interview, test procedures, and dates.  

What will you learn?

With support from Horse Racing Alberta and industry professionals you will receive your hands on training at the Century Mile Racetrack in Nisku Alberta.

You will first learn in the indoor arena, and then move to the racetrack with your instructors.  Once you’ve passed the necessary competencies, and have successfully completed  the riding test (the Exercise Rider license test), you will be embedded in the industry working with current trainers at the track galloping their horses. To complete the graduation requirements you will log 60 rides with industry horses in training.

Upon successful completion of this program you will be able to understand horse behaviors, explain the workings of the horse racing industry, develop personal career skills, demonstrate practices for barn safety and cleanliness, demonstrate horse handling techniques for high powered horses. You will be trained to exercise race horses around a track to condition them and get them in shape for racing.

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